Spotlight Title:  Smokey Mountain Prayer

Spotlight Title: Smokey Mountain Prayer

About the Book

This 1940s epic story takes place in the Smokey Mountains during World War II. Most of the towns in the south were predominately Southern Baptist and cut off from other Christian denominations. A Catholic convert, single female, with a career in veterinary medicine, would have posed a challenge to the belief system at that time.
This is the story of Margaret Kelly MacDougal’s struggle to honor her father’s legacy as a veterinarian and practice her Catholic faith. Although our stories may be different, our desire is the same – to be loved, to be accepted; that is the story of the human race.

Review

Smokey Mountain Prayer is the latest romance from award-winning author Angela Pisaturo.

The story begins in Chicago with a farewell dinner for Dr. Margaret Kelly MacDougal who is returning home to Horseshoe Cove, Tennessee. Having recently graduated from veterinary school, Maggie yearns to continue the successful veterinary practice of her deceased father, Dr. James MacDougal. However, she is received with strong resentment from the local farmers and Josh, her high-school sweetheart. The farmers of this secluded, Baptist-dominated country town are very traditional regarding family roles and are outraged about Maggie’s career choice. She finds herself in a bigger predicament once her conversion to Catholicism comes to light.

Maggie struggles to keep her animal clinic afloat amid financial hardship and the turmoil of World War II. During these difficult times she relies on the comfort and advice of her small circle of old-lady friends. Her faith keeps her strong as she attempts to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of veterinarians. As the story unfolds, a series of unfortunate events shows the residents of Horseshoe Cove that fanaticism, prejudice, and narrow-minded views disguised as traditions and values could affect a society and prevent its progress.

When contacted by the author to write a summary and review of the book, I was honored. For me, the summary was harder because I was restricted to 100—200 words. In writing it, I limited myself to highlighting only the important scenes in order to encourage the reader to buy this page-turner of a novel. I hope I achieved that goal. I accepted the double challenge because I like Ms. Pisaturo’s writing style. I knew what to expect, having enjoyed and reviewed her book, Treasures in Clay Vessels.

Her romance novels are clean, well-researched, uplifting and entertaining while keeping the reader engaged throughout. In both novels, she tastefully relates the differences in religious views of her characters without bashing any. I recommend Smokey Mountain Prayers to readers who are fond of romance novels with a twist.

Reviewed by Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopés, publisher of Time with Tannia
(timewithtannia.tripod.com) Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopés, author of The Window To My Soul; My Walk With Jesus (2004 Tate Publishing;). El Espejo de mi Alma (2011 WinePress) ., www.shoutlife.com/tanniaortizlopes,and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tannia-E-Ortiz-Lopés-authorSongwriterPhotographer/
156091121125193  Stock photography website:

http://www.bigstockphoto.com/search/photographer/Boricua63/
Other photography website: http://www.zazzle.com/teolpuertorico
Copyrighted, December, 2014 – Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopés – All Rights Reserved

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CrossReaders Book Review: After the Rain (Brides of Weatherton, Book 1)  by Leah Atwood

CrossReaders Book Review: After the Rain (Brides of Weatherton, Book 1) by Leah Atwood

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Title: After the Rain (Brides of Weatherton, Book 1)

Author: Leah Atwood

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Welcome to Weatherton, Wyoming, where romance is always in the air!

Rand McCade made a promise to his dying wife to one day remarry. He couldn’t imagine ever loving someone again, but he’d do anything to give his wife peace in her final moments. Two and a half years later, he begins to fulfill his vow by contacting a mail-order agency in the east. He doesn’t want to remarry, but a promise is a promise.

Lettie Morgan needed to leave Baltimore. Widowed and pregnant, she was being pressured to marry a violent man. In order to protect herself and the baby, she seeks out an agency she’d heard of which finds brides for men in the west.

How can two hearts, broken and grieving, put their pasts aside and blend their lives into one?

A SWEET, FEEL-GOOD NOVELLA WITH ELEMENTS OF FAITH, FRIENDSHIP AND FAMILY.

Review

SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN
I enjoyed this sweet novella that had faith, friendship and family. Rand McCade was still mourning the death of his late wife Mellie, but he made a promise to her on her deathbed to remarry and had placed an ad with an agency for a mail order bride. Lettie Morgan had lost the love of her life and didn’t know she was expecting until after his death. With Daniel gone, her mother was trying to force her to marry another man who had proven to be violent. Lettie knows that for her own safety and that of her unborn child, she must leave Baltimore, and chooses to do so as a mail order bride. The story of Rand and Lettie is two people fulfilling a need and with hope, they will fall in love. I loved the dialogue and honesty that they shared with each other. Can Rand and Lettie find love again. I was happy with the ending and found this story to be uplifting. The thing about dark skies and rainy days is that, if you wait long enough, the sun will always shine again.

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This review was submitted by: Kathy Watts

SPOTLIGHT TITLE: Deep in the Heart

SPOTLIGHT TITLE: Deep in the Heart

by:  Staci Stallings

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Only 99Cents!

About the Book 

Just out of college and completely alone in the world, Maggie Montgomery has one shot left to save her life from an abyss of poverty and hopelessness. Clinging to the last shred of fuel and hope, she arrives at the mansion of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer. Although Maggie is clearly not what Mr. Ayer and his wife have in mind for a nanny, they agree to hire her temporarily until they can find someone more appropriate to fill the position. However, Maggie’s whole world is about to be up-ended by two way-over-scheduled children and one incredibly handsome hired hand. As she struggles to fit into a world she was never made to fit in, Maggie wonders if she can ever learn to become a perfect version of herself so she can keep the job, or is she doomed to always be searching for a life she can never quite grasp?

Keith Ayer despises his life. As the son of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer and the fiance to a Senator from Texas’ daughter, it looks great on the outside, but inside, he is dying. He would vastly prefer to manage and train his father’s racehorses. However, everyone else thinks that is beneath him. He needs to get into industry and build on his father’s success. Suffocating under the constrictions of his life, he meets Maggie who begins to teach him that wealth and power is not everything in this life. But can Keith defy the most powerful men in Texas to follow his heart?

One of the most inspiring Contemporary Christian Romance novels available, “Deep in the Heart” is an Amazon #1 Best Seller. It is truly Christian romance at its very best. Filled with faith, hope, and love, Christian romance kindle books aim to inspire women and men alike while giving them an exceptional romantic love story they will not soon forget. This is one book that will surely find its way onto your most inspirational books list!

 

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 Staci Stallings
 About the author: Co-founder of CrossReads, Staci Stallings is a #1 Best Selling Christian Romance author. She has a husband, 3 kids and a writing addiction on the side. Her titles run the gamut from motivational to full-on Christian. Every title is a new adventure!Visit Staci at: http://www.stacistallings.net
Other Books by Staci Stallings:[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B004JN05KY” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”yes” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MI0fXc70L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”103″] [easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00M2764LS” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”yes” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51c7wv5DHLL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”104″] [easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00HQL0POW” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”yes” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Oywd9I1tL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”107″]

 

CrossReaders Book Review: Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

CrossReaders Book Review: Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

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Title: Until I Found You

Author: Victoria Bylin

Rating: five stars

About the Book

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life.

It’s Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate’s rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She’s not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn’t expect to be swept off his feet by the car’s occupant. He’s made a vow–no dating for a year–but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he’s met Kate Darby.

Review

Victoria Bylin has written several western romances in the Love Inspired Historical line, but Until I Found You is her first full-length contemporary romance and is a new author to me. I guess I was expecting another entertaining, but typical, romance – yet this is so much more. Victoria has a distinctive ability when it comes to setting, characterization, romance, environmental elements, and spiritual themes. The Christian element flows throughout, and just feels real and compelling. The story entertains, but also informs and makes you think. Until I Found You touched me greatly.

The setting is the small town of Meadows, California, located in the Los Padres National Forest, and I have to say that Victoria creates a feel for place as good as any author I’ve ever read – from Leona’s cabin with its 300 daffodil bulbs located in the shadow of Mount Abel, to the winding roads with hairpin turns in San Miguel canyon, to the nature blind where Nick and Kate watched a condor courting ritual.

Nick, Kate and Leona are strong, well developed and realistic characters who remain in my thoughts. Nick is a reporter/travel writer who has “the posture of a soldier, the ease of a cowboy, and the daring of a pirate,” according to Kate – and he considers traffic violations a business expense. Kate, a designer of ad campaigns, despises uncertainty and prefers to be in control. Leona, Kate’s grandmother, is in independent spirit who struggles with accepting help and making some tough medical decisions.

One of the most moving parts is the condor theme which is woven throughout, beginning with Kate’s grandfather, told through Leona’s journals, and experienced personally by Kate in the first chapter. The Californian condor was . . . “a bird that isn’t pleasing to the eye yet still is beautiful; a bird that mates for life; a bird that faced extinction and was given new life by a power greater than itself.”

But most of all, Until I Found You is a story of spiritual transformation and growth – a grandmother seeking to help her granddaughter find her way, a new Christian struggling to get past the guilt and temptations from his old ways, and a seeker trying to knock on the right door. Victoria writes out of a deep faith and uses story to make us look within and ask, where do we put our faith? God, ourselves, or other people? My faith grows stronger with each passing year, yet I can still find myself dealing with these same questions. And then there’s the ever necessary theme of trust, that only God sees the upper story, that “much of life is beyond our understanding – but we have the choice to believe life is a string of random events or that God has a plan in our lives.”

Last of all, there’s the romance between Nick and Kate, who cared about each other from the very first – and that’s something I like to see. Faith is the main barrier between them and it’s so enjoyable to see them grow, both emotionally and spiritually. I loved Nick’s poignant words to Kate and wanted to share them:

“Nothing can change how I feel about you. Nothing. I’d take a bullet for you, walk on hot coals. I’ll watch chick flicks and hold your purse at the mall. When babies come, I’ll rub your feet, and when we’re old and gray, I’ll love you even more than I do now. But I can’t stand here and say, ‘Do whatever makes you happy,’ because happy is temporary. I want us to have more, Kate. I want us to have joy.”

I enjoyed every minute spent reading this story. If Victoria continues to write in the style of Until I Found You, I will continue to read and highly recommend her books.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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This review was submitted by: Carole Jarvis – please visit her website at http://booksmusicandlife.blogspot.com

CrossReaders Book Review: Down Fall  by Suzanne D. Williams

CrossReaders Book Review: Down Fall by Suzanne D. Williams

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Title: Down Fall

Author: Suzanne D. Williams

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Jacob Flynn lost his wife and son in childbirth and fled south to Florida to escape the memories. But in, Aurelia Cotton, the pregnant wife of a kind man who took him in, they come back to him. She’s so very beautiful.

Helplessly in love, he finds himself pressed closer and closer to the ultimate act of betrayal, when tragedy strikes.

Yet the evil someone meant for selfish gain, just might be their one chance for forgiveness.

 

Review

Down Fall by Suzanne D. Williams is a Christian romance that leaves the reader with a good feeling. Jacob Flynn left Georgia and fled to Florida hoping to lessen his grief and erase the memories caused by the death of his wife and son in childbirth. Almost immediately after reaching Florida he runs into temptation in the form of Aurelia Cotton, another man’s wife, and to make matters worse she is pregnant. Aurelia’s husband has given Jacob a job and a place to live. Jacob soon learns that Aurelia also feels an attraction to him but they both uphold their Christian faith and strive to avoid temptation.

Suzanne did a great job in the development of the characters in this story It would have been easy to write the story in a worldly way but she upheld her Christian beliefs. I was completely drawn into the lives of Jacob and Aurelia and felt as if they were close friends and I wanted to help them solve their problems. The dialogue throughout the story was well thought out and showed the personality of each character. The plot was very well written and I was not always certain as to how things were going to end. The story could have had a much different ending but Suzanne gave it just the right touch.

I definitely recommend this novella to anyone who likes a good clean romance that gives you a good feeling.

Thanks to the author, Suzanne D. Williams, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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This review was submitted by: Deanna Gottreu – please visit her website at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog